Virtue of the Week: Friendliness

Jackie RobinsonJackie Robinson

Jackie Robinson was the first black to play major league baseball. Breaking baseball’s color barrier, he faced jeering crowds in every stadium. While playing one day in his home stadium in Brooklyn, he committed an error. The fans began to ridicule him. He stood at second base, humiliated, while the fans jeered. Then, shortstop Pee Wee Reese came over and stood next to him. He put his arm around Jackie Robinson and faced the crowd. The fans grew quiet. Robinson later said that arm around his shoulder saved his career.

In his first seasons with the Brooklyn Dodgers, Jackie Robinson, the first black man to play Major League baseball, faced venom nearly everywhere he traveled–fastballs at his head, spikings on the bases, brutal epithets from the opposing dugouts and from the crowds. During one game in Boston, the taunts and racial slurs seemed to reach a peak. In the midst of this, another Dodger, a Southern white named Pee Wee Reese, called timeout. He walked from his position at shortstop toward Robinson at second base, put his arm around Robinson’s shoulder, and stood there with him for what seemed like a long time. The gesture spoke more eloquently than the words: This man was his friend.

Around The Corner

by Henson Towne

Around the corner I have a friend, In this great city that has no end.
Yet days go by and weeks rush on, And before I know it a year is gone,
And I never see my old friend’s face; For life is a swift and terrible race.
He knows I like him just as well As in the days when I rang his bell
And he rang mine. We were younger then– And now we are busy, tired men–
Tired with playing a foolish game; Tired with trying to make a name.
“Tomorrow,” I say, “I will call on Jim, Just to show that I’m thinking of him.”
But tomorrow comes–and tomorrow goes; And the distance between us grows and grows.
Around the corner!–yet miles away… “Here’s a telegram, sir.”
“Jim died today.” And that’s what we get–and deserve in the end–
Around the corner, a vanished friend.

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